Archive for the ‘Opportunity (swOt)’ Category

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 by Sebastian Holst

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height” - Sonnet 43, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

So “what’s love got to do with it?” (Private Dancer, Tina Turner) Hint: if people live for love, then businesses live for money

On July 14th, Microsoft announced Azure pricing and a “grace period” through PDC 2009. A primary rationale here is to enable development organizations to optimize deployment and monetization models to maximize Azure commercial opportunities.

So, whether you are a romantic (like Ms Browning above) or perhaps more hardened like Tina Turner’s Private Dancer (or Stanley Kubrick a la Full Metal Jacket), one thing is for sure - Microsoft wants Azure to “love you long time.” How deep, wide, high or long is the question.

Check out a this article in SD Times - PreEmptive’s Dotfuscator instruments Azure applications By David Worthington – where Dave Worthington makes many of the very same points.

Of course, we announced Runtime Intelligence Service (RIS) Azure support to help developers answer these very questions. While perhaps not as soaring as a sonnet – Runtime Intelligence allows for any .NET component deployed into Azure to be injected (post-build) with session, feature and method level monitoring. The runtime intelligence is streamed out of Azure for analysis. Other than writing a custom solution, this is perhaps the only means to measure adoption, usage patterns and performance inside Azure in near real-time.

Now, my posts are all intended to help you (blog followers) find more ways to make more money (we want to spread the love). So, you will note that I very specifically said the RIS helps to answer these questions. What the Azure development community really needs is an ROI calculator that will combine real usage data (from both legacy and piloted Azure applications) with Microsoft pricing and the offset IT expenses to come up with an Azure ROI calculator. I know there are lots of calculators being written – but how many of them can incorporate actual usage data before and after deployment to the cloud? That’s not our business – but could it be yours?

If yes, let me know and I will make sure you have what you need to call our RI Service via our RESTful API – making your calculator uniquely able to reliably predict cloud ROI.

As always, i have a more philosophical take on this issue on my personal blog at http://apps-are-people-too.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-do-i-love-thee-let-me-count-ways.html

How to sell to over one million .NET developers with VS 2010 and VSTS 2010

Monday, June 15th, 2009 by Sebastian Holst

Roughly 15% of all Visual Studio developers have used Dotfuscator Community Edition (CE) to prevent reverse engineering (and I think we can all agree that this is a relatively specialized requirement). If you accept the next uncontroversial assumption that more developers would want to know who is using their software, how and why than would be concerned about reverse engineering – then we can also assume that the new Dotfuscator CE that includes application monitoring capabilities will be adopted by perhaps 2X or even 3X more developers – or between 30% to 45% if the 6 million+ Visual Studio users.

This next series of posts will outline specific opportunities for entrepreneurial developers to build solutions targeting the millions of .NET developers likely be using these new capabilities as VS2010 reaches general availability.  For an earlier example of this, see my blog entry how to make $5 from every .NET developer on the planet.

Post 1 – Code coverage!? I got your code coverage right here pal!

If you think development teams would benefit from being able to readily reconcile testing code coverage results with beta usage code coverage to improve quality and reduce development costs – read on…

With VS2010 Dotfuscator CE feature tracking, you can stream back feature usage during a beta release that can provide a complete picture of what methods were called, in what order and on what technology stack. If only there were an easy way to not only visualize this in the context of the application’s code base but also to overlay this information on earlier testing code coverage results to ensure I have tested what is being used and my beta users are using what I think needs to be tested! That might be an opportunity…

We’ve got an “opp” for that! (apologies to the iPhone ad guys). If you have evaluated VS Beta 1, you may have already noticed that VSTS 2010 Architecture is a completely new release which leaves behind the current Distributed System Designer and the underlying System Definition Model (SDM ) and replaces them with the Unified Modeling Language (UML), Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) and other tools that are not related to UML. The specific tool I want to point to here is the Architecture Explorer (AE).  AE visualizes relationships inside code using the Directed Graph Markup Language (DGML). By extending the DGML, one can use the Architecture Explorer to create visual models of assemblies – post-build – combining both the relationships inside the code (this comes with AE out of the box) and testing and usage coverage results by extending the styles already included in AE. In short, The Architect Explorer with its DGML support and the ability to extend/modify styles offers an ideal means to quickly reconcile usage data with testing code coverage (and platform and framework coverage as well).

This screen shot shows a generic rendering inside the VSTS Architecture Explorer. The rendering is entirely driven through XML data and, as such, can be easily extended to provide specialized views that are relevant across the entire lifecycle of an application.

In this case, the color schemes (or fonts or sizes) can be driven by:

The level of testing completed as reflected inside a TFS repository to quickly answer the questions

  • Testing status – how much testing has been completed?
  • Testing the right things – are there components that should be getting more (or less) attention?

The level of usage by beta test users as reported via the instrumentation capabilities included in Visual Studio 2010 Dotfuscator CE to quickly answer the questions

  • Beta adoption sufficient – have enough users actually run the software through its paces?
  • Critical path coverage – are the new components being exercised as expected?
  • Testing coverage map to usage profile – combining both testing data and usage coverage data can identify areas of code that are not being tested sufficiently given the patterns of usage that are being observed? (mash up)
  • Platform/framework coverage – are enough users evaluating on Vista SP1 or .NET 1.1 or …?
  • What exceptions have been detected that have not been reported through other channels?

How do you get $5 from every .NET developer on the planet?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 by Sebastian Holst

Here is an idea that I have been telling anyone who will listen, but as far as I can tell, no one is doing anything about it.

Back at PDC 08, Microsoft announced that Visual Studio 2010 would include “Application Feature Monitoring, Usage Expiry and Tamper Defense capabilities.” These capabilities will be delivered inside the next generation of Dotfuscator CE (now to be called Dotfuscator Software Services) and will be included in the box with Visual Studio (except the Express SKU) with no registration or any other steps required.

Specifically, the tamper detection functionality referenced here will enable any Visual Studio user to inject tamper detection logic POST-BUILD into any .NET executable (assuming it is not already signed). Once this step is complete, the application will (when tamper is detected) have the ability to:

a) halt execution AND

b) (here is the important bit) send a SOAP signal to an IP endpoint of the developer’s choice.

So, how do you get $5 from every developer on the planet?

Use social networks or any other communication tool you prefer to make the following offer:

  • For $5 per month retainer, you will provide an IP address for developers to use when building their applications. If their application is ever tampered with (and it has access to the Internet) the SOAP signal is delivered to your endpoint.
  • Your service will notify them upon receipt. Why not use Microsoft’s cloud services to host a simple SharePoint application for this? They can then take appropriate action.
  • You can optionally set some sort of per incident fee as well if you like.

Every developer who moves to Visual Studio 2010 will have all of the software you need them to have installed in their environment - so there are NO software distribution requirements.

All you need to do is write a simple hosted endpoint, provide the IP address, and collect the subscription fees.

This functionality is already exposed in the CTP release of Visual Studio 2010 – you can begin this project today without contacting PreEmptive at all (although, we are happy to assist if you want to take advantage of any/all of our commercial extensions).

What do you think? There is a similar service possible with Shelf-life (also included in the new Dotfuscator Software Services community edition).

Do you want to innovate? Change the way people live and work?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 by Sebastian Holst

If your answer to the above question is no - please go watch a rerun on TV and ask your mother to heat-up some of that leftover meatloaf you love - there is nothing I will write here that will be of any interest to you whatsoever.

Now for the living amongst you…,

I am always excited by any new or innovative idea - even if I personally have no ability or interest in doing anything about it. For example, why not make jellybeans that are shaped more like raisins than beans? You can market them as “jellybuttons” (you know – like bellybuttons) – if kids like them, branch out into other body parts. Now, I’ve always liked that idea, but I have no interest in doing anything about it.

Striking a lot closer to home professionally, I am always coming across (what I think are) great opportunities in the technology space – most often through friends who complain about some company’s poor execution (“if I were in their shoes, I would…”) or from colleagues passionate about the changes they are seeing (“don’t you see what this means!? Now we will be able to…”).  …and for the most part, I have no ability or interest in doing anything about them.

Until now.

I am going to use this PreEmptive platform as a clearing house for (potentially) great ideas looking for a good home. Of course, I hope readers will comment on the ideas I am able to toss out – but I also hope I will inspire a few others to share similar sparks of inspiration that might make a difference in someone else’s hands – I am a big believer that innovation breeds more innovation – so why keep good ideas locked up if you aren’t prepared to do anything with them? – we all suffer when that happens.

So, as a guiding principle, let me suggest that our ideas don’t have to be original – they only have to be great - lets find good homes for those great ideas before it’s too late (think of what happens to cute puppies if they are not adopted from the animal shelter in time).